Security guards attack Manus compounds

Security guards including PNG locals began attacking peaceful protests in Oscar and Delta Compounds on Manus Island around 4pm Manus Island time – see photos.

Only fours hours ago, the Immigration Minister told a press conference that he wanted to “deal with the issues peacefully”, and stated that, “We’re happy to negotiate and discuss the situation.”

But the action of Transfield’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) has put the lie to the Minister’s statement. There was no discussion and no warning before the security guards began attacking and beating protesters.

“It is this kind of attack that the asylum seekers have feared all along,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson from the Refugee Action Coalition.

“This is exactly the way that the attacks on asylum seekers began in February last year. It was the ERT that was responsible for vicious attacks on peaceful protests asylum seekers on 16 February 2013, the day before Reza Barati was killed.

“It is very clear that the minority responsible for the violence on Manus is the security force itself. It is shocking brutality against people already weakened from two days of fasting.”

Yesterday’s attempts to force asylum seekers in Oscar, Delta and Foxtrot compounds out of the shelters and back into their rooms, failed.

“It was the threat of using force to move refugees out of the detention centres and into insecure housing at Lorengau that precipitated the peaceful protests and hunger strike”, said Rintoul.

“The actions of the ERT are likely to inflame the situation even further. The Minister has just proved what the asylum seekers have been saying all along – they are not safe inside or outside the detention centre.”

For more information, contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713